Monday, April 25, 2011

The Dreaded Special Interest


A BBC station ident. You can't tell by looking, but this is a result of his love of hot air balloons. 
I could write a whole post about balloons. They are like silent drums. 

One of the criteria the school considers when determining if a child needs accommodation or support is this...


"Encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interests that is abnormal in either intensity or focus."


Off hand, this doesn't seem like a negative trait. Overwhelming passion is required to persist and accomplish anything great. But there is no steering a big interest. You can't walk up to a nifty, passionate brain and say,  "How about you harness that obsessive thinking? Please figure out how to prevent catastrophic oil spills. Or come up with a cheap, simple fix for brain damage done by malnutrition." The world might need those things, and it is possible that some non-neurotypical brains are on the job right now getting that stuff done, but those brains chose what they desired. 


As I mentioned before, my son memorized product introduction speeches given by Steve Jobs. His speech patterns improved dramatically once he had mastered those speeches. He had greater fluency. He was more willing to talk to others. He used nonverbal gestures like pointing and nodding appropriately. 


This wasn't our idea. We were out of ideas. The occupational/speech therapist was out of ideas. We had computers in our house, and he had access to them. If we hadn't, he might have done something else--like learned to speak to ravens. 


He still has an abiding interest in all things Apple/Macintosh. He can talk for hours about the company history. He can talk for hours. He can talk. 


That isn't his only subject, however. There has been a sort of branching and interweaving, he's building an  interconnected web of things he loves. The very first thing he loved, when he was pre-verbal, was drumming. And balls, he loved balls. So when he saw this Sony ad... 



...we spent hours pouring balls down the stairs and down the slide.

Other things he loved/loves include Blueman Group (drumming! alienation! beauty!), Animusic (drumming! robotization! beauty!), and most recently DeadMau5 (beats! giant mousehead! beauty!)


There's no school today. He is bouncing his ball and chanting. When he does that, our whole little house turns into a drum. He's thinking about something. That's just the way he thinks.



This is another NOS post. Anyone who comments will be entered into the drawing for Jacqueline Houtman's book The Reinvention of Edison Thomas.
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